Monday, July 18, 2011

Nearing the end

of a perfect week of riding . We had an opportunity to meet new friends (Dom & Martha), a chance to renew aquaintances with Kari & Ron and a chance to experience new roads with our motorcycles. Roads that we have heard about. Kari provided a list of what roads she wanted to ride and we modified our route to try and take them all in. For the most part we had the perfect weather, perhaps a bit warmer than we would have liked but we checked all the weather forecasts and with temps in the mid to high 80's we made sure we had our warm weather mesh gear with us. We were in Central Oregon down in the John Day area and our plan was to head up to the Columbia Gorge. Up until today we had been putting in 10 hour days, today was to be different, we decided to take it easy and we chose Hwy 19 and we found a gem of a road in Hwy 207, then we took Hwy 206 to Condon where we stopped for fuel and a refreshment break.

It was bound to happen, our luck ran out and the black clouds were right on our tail coming from the South. Soon we felt a few trickles of rain and Kari screamed over the radio to stop and put on our rain gear


We rode and we rode and the wind was quite gusty. Maybe that is why they have a lot of windmills in this area


We were riding at a good clip which felt that we were outrunning the storm and after around 20 miles the sun came out and it was getting very warm and sweaty under the non breatheable rain layer, so Kari shouted on the radio again to stop and remove layers


Soon we reached Biggs, OR for a fuel break and crossed the bridge to visit the War Memorial at Stonehenge


We could feel the wind picking up and it felt like rain was close


We could hear the sound of thunder, and later we would see lightning . We knew that the rain would be heavy so we had a quick discussion whether we would head directly to our home for the night or continue to Klickitat Canyon as was our plan

The problem we found was that on most of these twisty roads there are not many safe places to stop for photos, so we just rolled on. On the way down the road is very narrow with sharp corners slowing to 25 mph. On the bottom the twisties follow the river and eventually we come to a viewpoint


We didn't realize that they built a new bridge to access the parking lot on the other side. We parked on the side of the road above


On Sunday morning it was time for us to go our separate ways. We woke up to wet roads and rain.


We decide to take our last photos together

(Ron & Kari/BlueKat)

It was a sad morning. We had such a good time together and I didn't want it to end. We were also talking about a repeat trip next year to a different location . They had a short ride back to Corvallis area of about 3 hours. I was looking forward to a 7 hour ride back to Canada. I was originally thinking of taking NF25 but I was tired and just wanted to get home so my plan was to just take I-5 all the way. I have to thank Kari & Ron for coming with me to Stevenson which was one day out of their way. They could just as easily gone straight home from John Day but I appreciate their gesture and their company for another day


Ron offered to snap my photo too. By now the rain was getting stronger. No problem I thought. I put in my jacket liner and my pant liners, snapped my jacket tight at the collar and waved at them as I left the parking lot.

I continued west on Hwy 14 towards 205. The road is quite twisty but with the rain my visor was fogging up, I had to leave it slightly open and breathe out the side of my mouth. Soon I came to a road construction site where there was one lane traffic. I had to stop at the red light. I put my foot down and felt a mushy feeling in my boots. What a thing to find out now that I am over 600 kms from home that my boots aren't waterproof. I ponder the thought of stopping to let the water out but then I thought what use would this be as I can't be stopping every 15 minutes. I continue on and wiggle my toes in the water filled boots.

Then I am trying to think if I have any plastic bags to wear in the boots or should I stop and put on dry socks which would only get wet in minutes anyway. I decide to wait until I need to refuel. An hour and a half later at 9:30a I stop in Kelso . For a quick breakfast of sausage & eggs and a chance to


wring the water out of my socks. There seems to be more water in the right side.


Since my boots were wet anyway I decide to put on the wet socks and continue on my way. From Kelso I have enough fuel to make it all the way home, but since gas is cheaper on this side of the border I decide to gas up again in Bellingham

I leave Kelso around 10am and ride straight up I-5. The rain is on and off, but more on than off. At times it was torrential with rooster tails from the cars ahead making it hard to see the lines on the road. From Burlington to Bellingham it was like the heavens opened up. I was warm from the neck down but during the 4 hours I was getting hyperthermic from the cold and wet socks. I was wearing shorts under my riding pants but the cold was working their way up my legs. I decide to turn on my heated grips. With warm hands it made me feel warmer.

I needed to use the washroom but I held on for my gas break. Soon enough, 4 hours later I arrived at my Chevron on Sunset drive (Bellingham) and went directly to the kiosk and asked the girl for the keys to the washroom. She handed me


this bottle. I said "I don't think this bottle is large enough"

she gave me that embarrassed look and said that the keys were attached. The bottle was only the key ring. I wanted to take a photo of the bottle but she offered to pose for me

Standard procedure: 1) washroom, 2) refuel, 3)squeeze water out of my socks


In the meantime customers are coming and going and I am there removing my boots and squeezing the water out. I should have worn my Pink Crocs, at least they have holes to let the water out. Soon I am ready to continue my trek home .

Seven days on the road with great friends and I have arrived home safely .


I got to ride on some great roads and made new friendships along the way. Thank you to Dom, Martha & Richard for putting up with us at the Cabin in Martin City, MT and to Kari & Ron for their company for the past few days. I think being in a 100 year old rustic cabin with one washroom for 9 people has brought us a lot closer than you think. And the couch was really, really comfortable

Thank you to my V-strom for not missing a beat. For over 2,400 miles my V-strom averaged 54.6 MPG (US gallon) ie: 23.08 kms/litre. It is a great machine for touring, it is capable, smooth, reliable and gets nearly 300 miles on a tank


  1. Max speed 92 mph? Bob, you scofflaw, you!

  2. Bob, your trip posts have beautifully summed up all that's great about motorcycling and shared experiences with great friends.

    Thank you!

  3. =) fabulous times and fabulous travels my friend!

  4. Glad you made it home safe and sound.

    I hate the feeling of soggy socks in my boots and a long ride is never a good way to find out if your boots are going to leak. I bet you were a sight wringing out your socks after breakfast.

    Again, glad you made it safe.

  5. Glad you got home safely. Is the photo of the windmills an HDR? I like the way the sky looks.


  6. Nice RR. The Strom IS a great bike!

  7. Sometimes it pays of to to pay more... never had water and soggy socks in my Alpinestars Ridge Waterproof boots. But it looks like that was the only fail on your epic journey. Thanks for taking me along to virtually revisit all those places.

  8. Doug:



    You know you are having a good time when you don't want it to end. I wished we could have spend more days together

    Ms M:

    good friends and good food, what more is there


    at least I finished my meal first


    it's a straight one-shot photo, no HDR. it was bright overcast and the light was good


    you are right. the strom is very smooth and has enough power for me. The Richland Rich forkbrace seems to help at high speed. I was cruising at 70 mph most of the time on the way home and still got great mileage


    It's never about saving money. I thought these boots were waterproof. I have had them for a few years but never used them until recently. The ones I used last year in Oregon, I gave away since they felt tight. I tried Alpenstars but they are too narrow and hurt my bad foot. No one carries wide widths. I still have your "package"

  9. Thanks for taking us along with you ... I've had that wet sock feeling, fun story to tell, pouring water out of your boots. Glad you made it home safe and with a smile on your face.

  10. I echo what others have said: This was a wonderful set of ride reports.

    Gear is so difficult. I have a pair of boots that were "waterproof" until I got caught in the rain. Can't believe everything you read especially with gear. The proof is often only in the wearing, oh well.

    Glad you are home safe and sound.

  11. That was some trying rain to encounter. Glad it was at the end of the trip and not all through it. Yeah, can't trust anything when it says "waterproof". As discussed, I sent you some links to "gators" for motorcycle boots if you wanted to try going that route for awhile until you find some better boots.

    Great post and imagery. Looking forward to seeing your "favorite" places on the road.

    -Steel Cupcake

  12. Dang! Them's some soggy socks!
    I've been lucky with footwear. My boots are just hikers, but so far they've stayed dry.

    I nearly always have wet feet when bicycling in rain, but of course, not nearly the wind chill.

  13. VS Lady:

    You are on an epic adventure too. Too bad you were too far south for us to meet. Glad your bike is okay after the mishap, be careful and ride safely. You have a long way to go


    it's great Billie is Okay, when I read those first words my heart sank. I have been trying to find new boots but little selection up here and I don't want to order on-line. In the mean time I will carry plastic bags and duct tape

    Steel Cupcake:

    thank you for the links. I've seen those boot covers before, but never considered using them before. They started leaking during the first 15 minutes, but then I had to endure the water for another 7 hours. This morning I checked the boots and after 4 days they are still damp


    Maybe I should check out Hiking boots in the meantime. Perhaps I will be able to walk in them. All is good while riding, it's just the "squish" when you have to put your foot down

  14. Bob: I had a pair of Red Wing boots for 25 years and they were absolutely waterproof. It wasn't the boots but the massive amount of Dubbin I worked into the leather, especially on the seams and around the sole.

    On my last vacation I hit a rainstorm on the Upper Levels highway and it was raining so hard the drains could not clear the water. Cars were having to slow right down. my feet stayed dry.

  15. Wow, nice trip. Probably would have been better on a Yamaha LOL
    I'm trying to catch up on all the blogs, I'm late to the party.

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